The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday offers respective 11- and nine-game main slates on DraftKings and FanDuel at 1:05 pm. ET.
On DraftKings, there are two pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
Corey Kluber leads the slate in K Prediction (8.3) and moneyline odds (-248), and the opposing Tigers are tied for a slate-low 3.1-run implied total. The projected Tigers lineup hasn’t struck out much against righties over the past 12 months (21.8% strikeout rate), but it has a lowly .308 weighted on-base average (wOBA) over that time, and the Tigers rank 24th in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against righties this season (FanGraphs). Kluber has relatively mediocre recent batted-ball data with his 92-mph exit velocity and 40% hard-hit rate, but the main issue with Kluber is his elevated salary, which could make roster construction more difficult. Nevertheless, pitchers with comparable K Predictions, salaries and Vegas data have historically been reliable investments (per our Trends tool):
James Paxton has been solid over the past year, boasting an exceptional 1.11 WHIP, 0.86 WHIP, and 10.86 SO/9. He owns an impressive +10.14 DraftKings Plus/Minus with 63% Consistency over the past month. He gets an advantageous matchup against a Rays team with a 3.1-run implied total in the pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field (Park Factor of 86). Furthermore, Paxton is second in K Prediction (8.0), and the Mariners are sizeable favorites (-162 moneyline odds). Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions, Vegas data and Park Factors have averaged an excellent +4.02 DraftKings Plus/Minus with 63.6% Consistency. Paxton offers Kluber-esque production but at a discount.
Jose Urena owns a 63% Bargain Rating ($6,300) on DraftKings and is a viable option if you’re looking to pay down at pitcher. He has a great matchup against a projected Padres lineup with a massive 30.1% strikeout rate and low .301 wOBA against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. While Urena’s 6.2 K Prediction is nothing special, he’s in a solid spot with his matchup and salary. Moreover, the Padres are implied for a mediocre 3.7 runs, and the Marlins check in as slight home favorites (-113 moneyline odds) at the pitcher-friendly Marlins Park, where Urena has a Park Factor of 86. Pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions, Vegas data and Park Factors have historically been nice values:
Dallas Keuchel costs just $7,700 on DraftKings, which is $2,800 cheaper than his salary a few months ago. He’s not a high-strikeout pitcher (5.3 K Prediction), but he’s an amazing ground-ball pitcher (21% ground-ball rate over the past year), and the Astros are -208 moneyline favorites. The opposing Rangers’ 4.3-run implied total is on the higher side, but pitchers with comparable Vegas data, salaries and K Predictions have historically averaged a +1.44 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Kyle Hendricks: The Pirates-Cubs game currently is forecast for a 54% chance of precipitation, so be sure to monitor its status up until lineup lock. There is also no game total yet, but the Cubs check in as -185 moneyline favorites, and wind is projected to blow in from right-center field at 8 mph. Hendricks has disappointed in his past two starts, but his +64 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL) suggests that he’s been unlucky in his fantasy production. Overall, Hendricks has an excellent 189-foot batted-ball distance, 86-mph exit velocity and 22% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days. The downside with Hendricks is that the projected Pirates lineup possesses a low 21.3% strikeout rate against righties over the past year.
Rick Porcello: He has a favorable draw against a projected White Sox lineup with a 27.9% strikeout rate and weak .285 wOBA against righties over the past 12 months. Furthermore, the White Sox are implied for just 3.7 runs, and the Red Sox check in as -213 moneyline favorites.
The Diamondbacks are set to take on Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland, who has mediocre Statcast data over his past two starts with a 224-foot average distance, 92-mph exit velocity and 41% hard-hit rate. Within the same time frame, Freeland has also allowed an atrocious .393 wOBA and .231 isolated power (ISO) to opposing hitters.
Paul Goldschmidt is having an absurd series at Coors Field, hitting four home runs in two games. He enters this game in terrific form, sporting a 229-foot average distance, 94-mph exit velocity and 52% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days. He has also obliterated lefties over the past year, owning an elite .475 wOBA and .400 isolated power (ISO). Hitters with comparable batted-ball data at Coors have averaged a massive +2.31 DraftKings Plus/Minus with 53% Consistency. J.R. Murphy is projected to bat cleanup and he’s also on the positive side of his wOBA and ISO splits, boasting an outstanding .420 wOBA and .405 ISO. The Weather Rating at Coors is currently 100, giving this game ideal hitting conditions.
The top four-man FanDuel stack in the CSURAM88 Player Model belongs to the Cardinals, who are implied for 4.8 runs:
The Cardinals have a matchup against Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who will be making his second start of the season. In his last outing, he surrendered four earned runs while allowing a woeful 95-mph exit velocity and 57% hard-hit rate.
If DeSclafani is in similar form today, Matt Carpenter may be able to take advantage, as he’s sporting a 251-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and 48% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days. Carpenter has smashed righties over the past 12 months to the tune of a .376 wOBA and .232 isolated power. Historically, hitters with comparable batted-ball data and lineup spots have averaged a +2.05 FanDuel Plus/Minus.
The Astros have an implied run total (6.3) that rivals that of the Rockies (6.4) and are facing Rangers lefty Matt Moore, who has allowed three or more earned runs in his past six starts. Since the Astros are not on the FanDuel main slate, you’ll have to roster them on DraftKings. Marwin Gonzalez is a progression candidate sporting a +48 RBBL and excellent Statcast data over the past 15 days with a 229-foot average distance, 94-mph exit velocity and 52% hard-hit rate. All of those metrics represent positive differentials when compared to his 12-month averages. Yulieski Gurriel, Evan Gattis and Alex Bregman are also in play. Gurriel costs just $3,400, and Bregman owns an elite .389 wOBA and .229 ISO against lefties over the past year.
Logan Morrison is cheap on both sites if you need salary relief. The Twins own a solid 4.7-run implied total, and Morrison boasts a .338 wOBA and .228 ISO against righties over the past 12 months.
Jose Ramirez will likely have low ownership today given his price tag and the abundance of teams with high implied totals, but he’s in a great spot, as the Indians are implied for 5.0 runs, and he possesses an elite splits-adjusted .423 wOBA and .326 ISO over the past year. Additionally, Ramirez has obliterated the baseball over the past 15 days with an absurd 253-foot average distance, 95-mph exit velocity and 50% hard-hit rate.
The Red Sox have a 5.5-run implied total, so it’s difficult not to consider J.D. Martinez, who has smashed righties over the past 12 months with a .429 wOBA and .372 ISO. He’s also drawing plenty of hard contact with a 94-mph exit velocity and 54% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days.
Once again, Curtis Granderson checks in with a favorable salary on a team with an excellent implied run total (4.8). Granderson has hit righties well over the year with a .346 wOBA and .245 ISO. While he’s averaging a pitiful -1.79 DraftKings Plus/Minus over the past 10 days, his RBBL (+22) suggests that he’s been unlucky of late. Leadoff hitters with comparable RBBLs and implied totals have historically averaged a solid +2.36 FanDuel Plus/Minus with 51.8% Consistency.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.
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Pictured above: Alex Bregman
Photo credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports